Awkward Kate Middleton & Prince William Moments Caught On Camera

It's no secret that even the most tightly connected couples may occasionally experience moments of awkwardness. For Prince William and his wife, Princess Catherine of Wales (still generally referred to as Kate Middleton in the media), these seemingly innocuous points in time are magnified a hundredfold thanks to the highly public lives led by British royals.

Given that they're constantly being photographed and filmed, those on-camera moments tend to be viewed under extreme scrutiny, with their every minuscule movement and facial expression placed under the microscope and examined like the Zapruder film. Meanwhile, those awkward moments can take on even greater significance when the royals are, say, on a foreign visit where they're expected to mingle with people from other nations — who can forget Prince Philip's lengthy list of embarrassing gaffes when interacting with unfamiliar cultures? Then, of course, there are other issues to contend with, such as the intricate and complicated rules governing royal protocol, which can sometimes be as confusing to royals as they are to commoners.

For the Princess and Princess of Wales, though, there have been more than a few occasions when they've raised eyebrows due to something they've done in public. To find out more, keep reading for a rundown of some awkward Kate Middleton and Prince William moments caught on camera.

William and Kate's awkward body language in Poland was impossible to miss

In July 2017, Prince William and Kate Middleton — who were then the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge — embarked on a five-day royal visit to Poland, bringing kids Prince George and Princess Charlotte along. On their final day in the nation's capital, Warsaw, they attended a soiree in honor of William's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.

After the royals posed for photographers, a photo emerged in which they appeared to be visibly displeased — particularly Middleton. According to body-language expert Judi James, a photo can sometimes capture a "flash," in which a momentary facial expression, when taken out of context, can appear to indicate an emotion that may not necessarily be there. However, James told the Express, that's definitely not the case here, describing Middleton as being "furious" with her husband. "Kate's unsmiling facial expression looked shocking and it wasn't just a flash," she explained. "There are several photos of the occasion that show her looking unhappy or even throwing William some pointed looks while he tried to remain neutral, with a faint, polite, closed lip smile of what looked like regret or awkwardness."

Jones also noted that Middleton appeared to be biting the inside of her cheek, an indication of repressing an emotional response. "As she looked out towards the waiting guests her arms looked rigid and her eye expression wary," Jones added, noting that the appearance sparked rumors the couple had been arguing.

William's attempt to touch Kate during a TV interview ended awkwardly

In 2019, Prince William and Kate Middleton were the guests of honor on "A Berry Royal Christmas," a televised holiday special for BBC that had been constructed around "The Great British Bake Off" stalwart Mary Berry. At one point in the festivities, the royals were seen seated next to each other on leather chairs, with William gently placing his arm on his wife's shoulder. Suddenly, Middleton could be seen shifting her positioning so that her shoulder was just out of his reach, forcing him to quickly and discreetly pull his hand away. Then, she quickly pivoted her entire body in the opposite direction, launching into a conversation with someone else on her other side. 

While the whole thing happened within a fraction of a second, it certainly did not go unnoticed by those who watched. "Extra," in fact, described the moment that Middleton was "caught shrugging her hubby off as he attempted to touch her shoulder." 

Meanwhile, some who saw it happen on television took to social media to share their impressions of what had taken place. "The body language in this, I'd say she hates him," one viewer tweeted. "Uhh ... calling that 'awkward' is an understatement!! That was definitive deflection and rejection. I guess she's just not into him anymore," read another tweet. "Awkward regardless of the reason," added a different tweet. "She had an instant reaction, and it was telling."

A troublesome curtain led to an awkward moment in New Zealand

The awkwardness between Prince William and Kate Middleton hasn't always come from their interpersonal reactions. It has also occasionally resulted from inanimate objects — particularly when they don't function as planned. Such was the case when the couple toured New Zealand and Australia in 2014. According to The Royal Observer, one of their stops was the Air Force Museum of New Zealand in Christchurch, where they unveiled a new plaque hidden from view beneath a purple velvet curtain. While some TV news reports indicated that the unveiling ceremony went off without a hitch, the entire video — posted on TikTok (and subsequently removed but still available to view here) — revealed a far more awkward reality.

Standing on opposite sides of the plaque, each spouse began pulling a tasseled cord, presumably intended to pull back the curtain and expose the plaque. That didn't happen; instead, they kept pulling, fiddling with the ropes while nothing happened. Looking at each other, they appeared confused and uncertain about what to do next. Mercifully, a royal staffer jumped in and launched himself between them, taking decisive action by simply pushing the curtain aside with one hand — problem solved.

As Newsweek reported, before the TikTok clip — titled "William and Kate have a nightmare unveiling a plaque!" — it racked up more than a million views and had received more than 30,000 likes.

They appeared to snub Swedish royals at the Royal Variety Performance

When Prince William and Kate Middleton attended the 2023 edition of the annual Royal Variety Performance, held at the famed Royal Albert Hall, they weren't the only royals in attendance. Other guests at the show included a pair of Nordic nobles, Crown Princess Victoria and her husband, Prince Daniel of Sweden (Victoria is actually related to William, in that her father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, and William's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, both shared Queen Victoria as great-grandmother).

An awkward moment emerged courtesy of a video taken on the red carpet, as the then-Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were seen engaging in an extended conversation with a pair of dignitaries. As they chatted, their backs turned to the Swedish royals, Victoria and Daniel were seen milling around, uncertain of what to do. At the same time, a white-haired man — presumably their aide — scurried nervously, seemingly attempting to get the Cambridges' attention — with no luck. 

Accompanying the video — tweeted by someone identified only as Katerina — was a comment criticizing the British royals for snubbing their Swedish counterparts. "That's how you host foreign royals in your country: by standing aside, with backs turned, completely ignoring their presence. And, of course, make sure you speak and go first, because you are more important," read the comment. "Poor Victoria didn't even know what to do, let alone her husband." That tweet, by the way, went viral, garnering more than 346,000 views.

William and Kate arrived late to King Charles' coronation

The coronation of King Charles III took place in May 2023, a pomp-filled ceremony meticulously planned down to the second. Prince William and his wife, who were granted the titles Prince and Princess of Wales when Charles assumed the monarchy, played key roles in the event.

That was why it was such a big deal when the big day finally came around, and they were late. As Robert Hardman wrote in his book, "The Making of a King: King Charles III and the Modern Monarchy," the couple and their three children didn't show up at Westminster Abbey when scheduled. "The Waleses are supposed to be there eight minutes ahead of the king and queen. Yet they will now arrive after them," Hardman wrote, as excerpted by Yahoo! News. While their late arrival may not have been apparent to everyone who watched the coronation, either in person or on television, it was nevertheless documented by the various photographers and camera crews.

"Although the congregation inside the abbey don't know it, there is an awkward scene unfolding outside as the king and queen are in their coach. It is an added layer of stress that the couple really do not want or need on a day like this," Hardman continued, noting that the schedule had to be rejigged on the fly to accommodate the couple's tardiness.

Kate brushed off William when he tried to hurry her along at a royal wedding in Jordan

A husband impatiently waiting for his wife is hardly uncommon. It is such a typical part of marital dynamics that it's practically become a cliché, and royal couples are not immune to this phenomenon. That was on display when Prince William and Kate Middleton paid a visit to Jordan, where they attended the wedding of Crown Prince Hussein and Rajwa Alseif, described by Town & Country as "the biggest royal wedding of 2023."

In a video taken during the event, Middleton can be seen chatting with the groom while her husband speaks with the bride. At one point, William stepped aside, and Middleton began to converse with Alseif. As the conversation continued, William appeared to be growing anxious until he finally gestured to his wife, rotating his index finger in small, fast circles to indicate his desire that she wrap it up and move along. William made his intentions known even more clearly when that message didn't come across. "Let's keep going," he told her. Middleton, however, either didn't see him or pretended not to and continued chatting away, oblivious to his intention to move on.

Finally acknowledging her husband's restlessness, Kate pulled herself away and joined him as he led them to their next destination — but not before leaving him hanging in a brief but memorable awkward moment.

William was left embarrassed when he broke a kids' shelter while he and Kate toured a campsite

In September of 2023, Prince William and Kate Middleton paid a visit to the young students of Madley Primary School. The school is somewhat unique, in that children attend "forest school" classes once a week in the woods, where they're taught an array of camping and survival skills. During their visit, the couple pitched in to experience the students' lessons, with William chopping wood and stripping bark as Kate inspected a crude shelter the kids built from various sticks and pieces of wood.

While that particular moment was awkward, many people who saw the video of the twig mishap thought it was endearing. "Whoops, how he fixed it and felt bad, but giggles at himself. He is so genuine and thoughtful," one commenter wrote when the clip was on TikTok (it has since been deleted but lives on via Newsweek). "That's adorable," another user added. "I bet he's not allowed near anything breakable in any of the royal households."

Their interaction with Harry and Meghan at the Commonwealth Day ceremony was beyond awkward

Reports of a major rift between Prince William and Prince Harry — and their respective spouses, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle — have been widespread for years. A big bone of contention came when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex famously broke from the royals, announcing they'd be stepping back. The royal family feud was on public display when the brothers and their wives subsequently attended a Commonwealth Day service in 2020, with both couples appearing grim and unhappy to be in each other's orbits. As "Access Hollywood" noted, one particularly awkward moment came when Harry and his wife were seated but didn't bother to rise to greet his brother and his wife when they arrived, simply mumbling a quick hello.

Harry later addressed that uncomfortable moment in an episode of the Netflix docuseries, "Harry & Meghan," confirming the whole thing was as awkward as it looked. "We were nervous seeing the family because all the TV cameras and everybody watching at home and everybody watching in the audience," Harry said, as reported by People. "It's like living through a soap opera where everybody else views you as entertainment."

He added, "I felt really distant from the rest of my family, which was interesting because so much of how they operate is about what it looks like, rather than what it feels like. And it looked cold. But it also felt cold."

Kate's shoe became stuck in a grate while accompanying William on a military visit

Back in 2013, Kate Middleton was still something of a royal rookie when she accompanied Prince William on a St. Patrick's Day meet-and-greet with the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. While walking with her husband, she experienced an awkward incident when she abruptly brought their procession to a halt as the heel of her shoes became caught in a metal grate. 

As Marie Claire reported, Middleton — who was pregnant with future prince George Alexander Louis at the time — was assisted by William, who gallantly offered his white-gloved hand to offer support while she crouched down and freed the heel from its entrapment.

According to the outlet, Middleton was nonplussed by the unexpected diversion, shrugging off the embarrassing moment and continuing on with the rest of the outing like the royal trouper she's proven herself to be.

A gust of wind caused an awkward moment for Kate while she and William attended Princess Eugenie's wedding

Attending Princess Eugenie's and Jack Brooksbank's wedding brought about an unexpectedly awkward moment for Kate Middleton as she accompanied her husband, Prince William, to the nuptials. As it happened, the wedding took place on a particularly windy day, which caused a particularly enthusiastic gust of wind to lift Middleton's dress well above her knees. A photographer captured the moment with a photo reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe holding down her dress while standing on a subway grate in the now-iconic moment in the film "The Seven Year Itch."

While the incident could have proven embarrassing — particularly given that the creme-de-la-creme of the British aristocracy, not to mention the queen herself, were all in attendance — Middleton downplayed it. As the Daily Mail reported, she simply giggled about it while also presumably breathing a sigh of relief that she'd managed to prevent her dress from blowing up any higher than it did, thus providing a scandalous photo that displayed much more than just her legs.

William and Kate squirmed on-camera at the BAFTAS during jokes about Princes Harry and Andrew

Among Prince William's many responsibilities is serving as president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), a title he's held since 2010 after assuming the role from his predecessor: his grandfather, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Despite William's long association with the organization, he wasn't immune from some royal mockery during the 2020 BAFTA Awards ceremony at Royal Albert Hall. One of those occasions came when Margot Robbie read a speech from absent winner Brad Pitt, her co-star in "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood." "He said that he is gonna name this Harry," Robbie said, gesturing to the award she was holding, "cause he is really excited about bringing it back to the States with him."

Another awkward moment came earlier in the ceremony when host Rebel Wilson made her own jab at the royals in her opening monologue. "It is really great to be here at the Royal Andrew ... uh, Royal Harry ... at this royal palace place," she said, purposely sneaking in references to Princes Harry and Andrew while the latter was in the headlines for some very unsavory accusations involving an underage girl and Jeffrey Epstein.

The camera then cuts to Prince William and Kate Middleton sitting in the audience. Their expressions? Tight-lipped and pained while the rest of the crowd busted a collective gut.